Day after day of glorious sunshine is one thing, but in springtime what we really need is rain. And unfortunately, October and November have brought the Adelaide plains very little rain so far, less than 18 millimetres. So while we have rejoiced in an exquisite rose display over the past few weeks (over all too soon, unfortunately), much of the rest of the garden is already beginning to struggle. The record October heat — it was the hottest October in 100 years — seems to have affected pollination of the apple trees. I can find just five baby fruit across my six trees. Four have no fruit at all.
On a more positive note, I’m harvesting loads of rhubarb, and the peaches, nectarines, almonds and plums are coming along beautifully. Myrtle, the light Sussex bantam has been broody for the past month and now looks rather the worse for wear, but Hedwig, Nightmare and Myrtle are laying well. And I harvested the first, tiny, finger-long zucchini a few days ago, the earliest zucchini I think I’ve ever had.
The first summer fruit and vegetables bring incredible inspiration to the kitchen, but somehow, not a lot of it makes its way on to Rosehips and Rhubarb. Often I’m not quite happy with the recipe, or I forget to measure the ingredients, or the food is just too simple. I mean, you can’t make a recipe out of slicing up fruit and putting it on a plate, can you? Sometimes it’s too dark after work to take a good photo. And sometimes, the recipe has already appeared here and I don’t want to publish it twice.
But to give you an idea, here are a few of the things that have come from my kitchen over the past week:
- apple and rhubarb pies (homegrown rhubarb, homemade pastry)
- CWA cream scones with homemade plum jam and homemade lemon curd
- banana cake (not great, I used a Stephanie Alexander recipe and it used too much sugar)
- basil and raw almond pesto — recipe to follow (home-grown basil)
- lemon curd sponge cake
- roast lamb (homegrown rosemary, homegrown mint in the mint sauce)
- chicken stock — I freeze any chicken carcasses, along with onion peels, for stock. The bay leaves came from Essential Edibles and the herbs were from the garden